Before finding Teamup, this dedicated group relied on messaging via WhatsApp to coordinate vehicle use. It was an ad-hoc solution, at best, and they needed a streamlined solution for volunteer scheduling with a shared vehicle. Here’s how they’re using Teamup for resource sharing among their volunteer team. It’s a better WhatsApp alternative for visible volunteer scheduling and booking shared vehicles, spaces, and equipment.
The need for a volunteer scheduling app
Meet a fantastic team of volunteer first responders in the UK. Warwickshire Hearts are a charity that provide Community First Responders to West Midlands Ambulance Service. As they explain on their website, Community First Responders (or CFRs) are local volunteers trained to provide life-saving treatment. They respond to emergency calls and provide help in the vital first few minutes of an emergency until an ambulance crew arrives.
WhatsApp alternative for volunteer scheduling
Like many CFR organizations, Warwickshire Hearts are volunteers who serve their community. They have a team of about a dozen people who share use of a vehicle for emergency response and training events. Prior to using Teamup, they relied on WhatsApp to coordinate vehicle use. It wasn’t the best solution. While messaging platforms are great for general discussion, they’re not designed for volunteer scheduling and resource sharing:
- Key messages can easily get lost in the thread.
- It’s not easy to reference prior plans, availability, or scheduling decisions in a chat without a visual schedule element.
- Security and privacy have historically been an issue on messaging apps.
- Group messaging is an ‘all or nothing’ approach; it’s difficult (or impossible) to set up customized permissions for who can see what.
What’s needed for volunteer scheduling?
Here are some of the factors that matter in a volunteer scheduling and resource sharing tool:
Visible availability of all volunteers
Volunteers may take on regular shift assignments, but they also have a full life and commitments outside of their volunteer work. Each volunteer should be able to add or adjust their own availability on a calendar that’s accessible for everyone involved in the scheduling.
Visual, color-coded volunteer scheduling
A schedule update in a stream of text messages is likely to be overlooked. And it’s certainly tricky to find again in a busy chat. For volunteer scheduling, visual schedule with color-coding is easier to use.
Clear resource allocation
Many teams, like this one, are sharing one or more vehicles. There may also be other equipment, supplies, and spaces that are shared among volunteers for the different services they provide. They need a reliable way to view and book use of these resources.
Synced updates on mobile
You can’t predict where you’ll be when there is a need. Everyone on the team needs to see the updated schedule, shift assignments, and available resources no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
How to use Teamup for volunteer scheduling
We simply would not be able to manage day to day without Teamup! We have a single response vehicle that is used to a) respond to 112 calls b) transport equipment to events c) deliver resuscitation training to community groups/schools. Our team of ~12 books the vehicle out on the calendar along with the details of the event, to prevent over commitments. All team members have the app on their phone, and are able to see when the vehicle is free.
For the Warwickshire Hearts, a simple calendar structure works best. They have one vehicle to share among the team and can use their Teamup calendar to easily see if it’s available or not. They can each add their own booking to the calendar with any pertinent information. They stay synced with Teamup mobile apps, so if there’s a change or update, everyone can see the latest event details.
What makes it work for volunteer scheduling
For volunteer groups who need to manage a larger fleet, schedule other resources, and also share team availability, Teamup can scale to meet the need.
- Color-coded sub-calendars in folders: Add sub-calendars for each team member, all fleet vehicles, shared spaces, equipment, or other resources. Sub-calendars can be organized in folders and you can view only the relevant ones for each scheduling need.
- Secure account-based access: Customize how each volunteer can view and use the calendar to keep confidential information safe and prevent accidental changes to the schedule. You can also use secure shareable calendar links to provide access.
- Synced mobile apps: Teamup’s mobile apps are available for iOS and Android. The calendar stays synced across devices automatically, so everyone sees the latest changes.
- Quick onboarding: An easy-to-use interface means that everyone can handle scheduling, no tech wizardry needed. To onboard a new volunteer, the calendar admin creates a sub-calendar for them and sets up their customized access. Then they can download the app, sign in, and they’re ready to go.
- In-app discussion: Event comments help with notes, logistics, or just having a quick chat about what’s going on. Folks can ask questions, make a request to switch shifts, or leave notes about what happened during a shift — and all that information stays on the calendar, attached to the appropriate shift or event. It’s easy to find later.
- Custom event fields: Add custom event fields to capture important details, track volunteer hours, or provide status updates.
- Feeds for holidays and weather: Set up inbound iCalendar feeds to keep track of holidays and even check the weather, so you’re always ready for action.